Home childcare and domestic staff

Choosing the right childcare is one of the most difficult decisions parents have to make. There are various childcare arrangements available such; child-minders, private day nurseries and home-based childcare staff; nannies and mothers help. The hours of care available, quality of the care, budget, location and much more have to be taken into consideration.

Sharan Gill is the Managing Director of Nanny Smart, an introduction agency providing qualified and/or experienced Nannies – Nanny/Housekeepers – Mothers Helps seeking live-in/out, full-/part- time, permanent and temporary placements. As well as holding a wealth of experience as a childcare recruitment consultant, she has 15 years + hands-on experience working in both private day nurseries and as a Nanny. She gained an insight into what are the advantages and disadvantages are of hiring private childcare.

“Hiring a good quality Nanny brings many benefits to families with demanding careers and is financially a cheaper option for families with more than one child. A nursery charges per child whereas a nanny will charge a flat rate – either hourly or weekly. Home-based child carers work flexible times, can work till late at short notice and provide proxy parenting for parents who travel. All of these are great benefits for parents with demanding careers. Children will receive more personal one-to-one care and the nanny has the freedom to plan outdoor activities like swimming, trips to museums and play dates. Nurseries have a daily strict timetable they have to follow which does have educational benefits but a good quality nanny can bring these educational benefits into the home. Other advantages are; the nanny will carry out nursery duties which give the parents more time to spend with their children and the parents have an input in the child’s daily diet. Children will at some point experience the mild, common illnesses such as chicken pox from which they can take weeks to recover. Nurseries have a strict policy of not allowing children to attend if they are not well. Parents then have the stress of finding cover, which is a challenging task, or may have to take time off work which may not be the most convenient option. Over the years, more families take advantage of the bilingual nannies and expose their children to a second language at a young age.

“The downside is private child carers can be costly to hire as those who hire them are recognised as employers ,who have a responsibility to register with the HMRC and pay the Nanny’s tax, national insurance and employers tax. In 2005, t he government introduced the employers childcare vouchers scheme which can be used to contribute towards paying a nanny’s salary, if the nanny is registered with Ofsted. This has changed the type of families hiring nannies and over the years we have seen an increase in more homecare staff being hired. So not just for the rich and famous!”

“Having worked in a nursery and as a nanny, I most definitely favour care within the home for children under 5. So much more can be offered to a child within the home and on days when the weather isn’t great or the child is tired, they have the luxury to relax and spend time in their home environment which is so much nicer than being rushed out of the door every morning. As a care provider, being in a home environment as opposed to an institution is so much nicer and providing personal one to one care is most definitely a winner.”

Nanny Smart also offers Mothers Help, less experienced than Nannies but keen and passionate to work with children. These candidates are attractive to parents who work from home or if they need an extra pair of hands. Mothers Helps salary is lower than that of a Nanny making them more affordable and they are more flexible in carrying out household tasks.

Nanny Smart is the only London-based agency to offer 3 options of Introductory fees with 3 months’ probation period, with an excellent reputation in providing a professional, personal, efficient and friendly service. Support is provided from the start to the end of the process and aftercare. Thinking about hiring home staff or actively looking, we would love to assist. Full details of our services, testimonials available here: www.nannysmart.co.uk.

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